CHS explosion, improving school safety defining marks of superintendent’s first school year on the job


By Raymond Mo

For Michael Beresford, the 2018-19 school year was his first as superintendent of Carmel Clay Schools. He succeeded former Supt. Nicholas Wahl, who resigned in 2017 during a turbulent year for the district.

At the June 10 Carmel Clay Schools board meeting, Beresford summarized major events and recurring themes from the year, including communications, school safety and instructional support in the District Year End Review. He described the progress of various CCS projects as part of the review.

“We’ve got two new elementary schools going on. We’ve got safety enhancements going on this summer, and we’ve got Carmel High School reconstruction going on (as well as) normal maintenance,” he said.

Beresford recounted the unexpected challenges of the school year, noting the Dec. 26, 2018, Carmel High School explosion and highlighting the swift recovery efforts.

“There were a lot of near-misses where people could have gotten hurt by just debris,” he said. “Shortly after school starts, it will be all back together and we will be operating as we did before the explosion. It’s pretty miraculous.”

Beresford also reflected on school safety as a growing concern in light of the May 2018 Noblesville West Middle School shooting. School safety, he said, requires a multi-layered approach that accounts for external threats, internal threats and mental health. New security measures such as entryway reconstruction and online resources for parents and students were implemented during the school year.

“The teachers, the administrators, our families, we were all kind of rocked by (the shooting),” he said. “It just re-emphasizes that we’ve got to keep trying to add those layers of school safety.”

Beresford emphasized the role of the education system in the Carmel community throughout the school year.

“Almost everyone I met with said that people moved to Carmel because of the schools,” he said. “(Our schools) are a priority, and we’re going to take care of them.”

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